Ahead of the Patient Access: Foundation of the Revenue Cycle program taking place on Tuesday, July 18th, the healthXchange had the opportunity to sit down with Becky Peters, CRCR, CHAM, the Executive Director of Patient Access at Banner Health. Over the course of her 30 year career, Becky has led teams at numerous leading healthcare organizations, providing her with incredible knowledge and insights into everything from billing and coding, to patient access and collections. Read on to learn more about her background, her current priorities at Banner Health, and what she’s looking forward to discussing with panelists on our Registration & Eligibility Verification panel.
Can you share with us a little about your professional background, how you got your start in healthcare, the roles you’ve enjoyed thus far, and your current priorities at Banner?
I started in healthcare over 30 years ago in physician offices as well as coding for hospitalists in Denver, Colorado. I really loved the interactions with the patients and physicians and having a positive impact on their experience.
I moved to Kentucky and started working in hospital settings, first in the billing department with a focus on government payers, and then registration. I loved every aspect of patient access, and working directly with our patients and clinical teams to ensure their visit was as smooth and seamless as possible.
Having worked my way up the management ladder, I took the Patient Financial Services Director role at Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where I had responsibility for; HIM, patient access, billing & collections, PBX and case management authorizations, for both the acute care hospital as well as the SNF (Skilled Nursing Facility). It was a wonderful learning experience as you get to be involved in everything soup to nuts in smaller community hospitals.
Following 8 years leading that team, I moved into Revenue Cycle Consulting with IMA Consulting out of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. This was such a wonderful experience, working all aspects of Revenue cycle for hospitals across the country, from small CAH’s to large academic organizations. I assisted with interim leadership support, E.H.R implementations including Epic, Meditch and Sorian, project managed multiple revenue cycle initiatives to improve performance and created new centralized support teams at many organizations for scheduling and financial clearance.
In 2009, after 6 years on the road, I took a permanent position as Director, Patient Access for Hartford Healthcare, where I supported a multi-hospital system with all aspects of scheduling, preregistration and front end registration, including implementation of several new technologies, vendors and processes.
I was then recruited to Sutter Health in northern California in 2013 as the Regional Director for Patient Access for the San Francisco/Bay area, and then promoted to the System Director of Patient Access to include oversight of 30 hospitals as well as the development, implementation and support of a new shared services model that included centralization of all financial clearance, authorization and scheduling.
In 2018, I moved to Banner Health as the Executive Director of Patient Access and have been here for 5 years. My scope at Banner includes front end registration for 33 hospitals, centralized patient Access services for all acute and ambulatory scheduled services including prior authorization, estimates, financial clearance and collections as well as our revenue cycle education and quality team that manages all new hire training for the entire revenue cycle at Banner.
My top priorities at Banner right now are:
Optimizing Patient Access processes, people, and technology, for best practice performance and results, to include having a 5-star patient and staff experience
Assessing automation in the right places, for the right reasons
Regulatory compliance and readiness
We’re looking forward to having you join the panel discussion on registration and eligibility verification; could you share one aspect of this front-end process that you are working to address with your team this year?
We have an optimization team that focuses on registration accuracy and enhancing the technology we utilize for registration and eligibility. This team does deep dives on all eligibility denials to create new or enhance current rule sets we have to reduce denials by making sure staff are aware at the time of registration any errors they may have made. We have a robust set of KPI’s that we track for; registration accuracy, hours to resolve registration alerts as well as utilizing QA Specialists to work any edits from our billing systems prior to final bill.
What made you decide to participate in the upcoming Patient Access event, and what are you looking forward to discussing or benchmarking with the panelists and participants?
I am always excited to share the great work our Banner teams are doing in this area as well as learn from others what best practices they are implementing. Healthcare professionals are collectively challenged with the same issues, but everyone has unique ways of approaching and solving problems and learning from each other is one of our greatest strengths.